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St. Clair right-of-way causing crashes, resident claims

Last Updated Mar 23, 2018 at 6:36 pm EDT

It’s a busy intersection that one neighbourhood resident says is a recipe for disaster.

The right-of-way in question is the intersection at Avenue Road and St Clair Avenue West, a major east-west street in midtown Toronto. Resident Gordon Kroft says he has witnessed almost a dozen incidents in the past five years when a vehicle has driven in the streetcar lane and collided with a traffic pole. One such incident occurred last night.

Kroft believes the streetcar right-of-way makes it difficult for drivers turning left to see where the proper lanes are. He has been frustrated in his attempts to get an answer from both the city and the the TTC.

“I think maybe if somebody from the TTC would pull up and make a left turn on that corner and see for themselves, maybe they would understand for themselves why this is happening,” Kroft said.

But Brad Ross who speaks on behalf of the TTC says the signage is clear in the area.

“It is separated by eastbound traffic on one side and westbound traffic on the other,” said Ross.

“It is up to the drivers of cars to make sure that when they are making a turn onto St. Clair, that they are not getting onto the right-of-way. That they are following the signage. It is well marked, it is important to take your time and to ensure that if you’re unfamiliar with the area you are driving safely on St. Clair.”

CityNews spoke to University of Toronto urban planning professor Matti Siemiatycki about the impact of this particular right of way turn. Siemiatycki doesn’t dismiss Kroft’s claims and concerns but said the data proves otherwise.

“The numbers on the St. Clair right-of-way show that it’s actually improved safety since it’s been implemented,” Siemiatycki says. “The number of collisions with pedestrians is down, transit ridership is up, the efficiency of public has improved, property prices and development has picked up on the stretch. But overall this project has been a major improvement for the street.”

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